The idea for this dinner came about at a splendid evening at Phélan Ségur back in March during the 2014 En primeur tastings. It was a celebration of 30 years of the Gardinier family’s ownership of this St.Estephe estate. I wrote up the dinner, briefly, here

When I realised that the charming Véronique Dausse, Directeur Generale, would be in town for the Union de Grand Crus tasting we quickly set a date. The venue was to be 1 Lombard Street. We were 14 people in total, just enough for three bottles of each wine! The menu was designed to be a simple one to complement the wines without competing, a mission that I think was achieved.

Black truffle Risotto

Fillet of Beef Wellington Green beans, sautéed potatoes & creamy mushrooms


As everyone gathered we drank a couple of magnums of the ever delicious Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV  I must tuck some away for ageing, even though Delamotte give their wines much longer than most houses before releasing them.

Once we were all seated around one large table, Véronique took us through a brief history of the Chateau and set the scene for the tasting. She commented that, because of price point more than anything, few people tend to give Phelan the ageing it deserves (we would be testing this to a degree). I said a few words, mostly about how I have always admired the property for its quality but certainly it’s value. It is the first 2011 wine I bought for my son after he was born. That reminds me I should drink some with him before too long, he’s fourteen so not long to wait!

A few Phélan Ségur stats:

Size: 70 Hectares
Cepage: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% merlot, 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1.5% Caberbet Franc
Elevage: 18 months (on average)
New barrels: 50%
Second Wine: Frank Phelan

We had the five wines – youngest to oldest – starting with 2008 and 2006 with the Risotto. All these bottles came directly from the Chateau only two weeks previously. The 2008 has a little bit of “sexy” oak gloss on it, as well as a coffee note, which makes it enticing on its own. I imagine this will disappear into the wine before it reaches its 10th birthday. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot with good grip. It highlights the good-proper vintage that 2008 is. The 2006 by contrast has reached a very complete stage, seamless and balanced with good dark fruit character. It was superb with the with the food. Delicious now but with no rush needed.

The 2005 and 2000 were our next pairing and they worked well with the Beef Wellington (sadly no picture as it didn’t last very long!). The 2005 is very classy on the nose, still quite tight but with all the ingredients. This is a very fine Phelan…I am delighted with the case I have. I think I will have another bottle in two years or so. The 2000 is mature now though certainly has a long life ahead of it. Some Asian spices show on the nose and there is a lovely blend of savoury and slight sweet black fruit. A very complete wine. This pair really showed how undervalued Phelan can be…we have one bottle of each left and I cant wait to serve them blind and really make people realise how good they are….

And so to cheese and the Château Phélan Ségur 1990. There is a little iodine here with some degradation and a lovely moreish saline note as well, good colour and nice elegant texture. It is a wine with good life and mellow accessible nature. So easy to like.

The size of the gathering, the wines, the company all meant that conversation flowed all evening…it was a lot of fun.

We had a brief discussion at the end about the Gardinier family’s new London restaurant  110 de Taillevent which launches next week…I’ll certainly be going…I imagine the list will have some rather lovely wines!!